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As Christian leaders it is easy to become overwhelmed with the busyness of life. There’s not enough time in a day to accomplish every task. Not enough space in one lifetime to complete the Great Commission. As a Christian, I often feel overcome by the pressures of trying to reveal Christ’s character to the world on a daily basis. Am I fulfilling my call? And do I balance being truly present in the lives of my family members on a consistent basis? How do I accomplish all of my tasks before the 5pm deadline? These thoughts bombard my mind constantly, increasing my anxiety. Most days, time feels like a commodity that constantly eludes my grasp. Yet in the midst of this calamity, I often hear a still small voice that says, “Be still”. When I am feeling pushed to take more action, join more movements, or pursue more ideals, I hear again the quiet whisper to “Be still”.
Two decades ago, the song “From a Distance” streaked to the top of the charts. Bette Midler’s moving version of this song not only sold in the millions, but also won a Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991. The lyrics celebrated a peaceful world as seen from far away: “From a distance we all have enough, and no one is in need. And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease, no hungry mouths to feed.” The chorus introduced God into this idyllic existence: “God is watching us. God is watching us. God is watching us from a distance.”
Psalm 33:3 reminds us that we’re to use well the gifts God has given us. If we have musical talent, then we should learn to “play skillfully” for the Lord. In reality, this takes years of diligent practice. Though it might be tempting for people with lots of natural musical ability to coast on their laurels, Psalm 33 encourages them to work hard on developing their skills. Yet their commitment to excellence must not keep them from singing “with joy” (v. 3).
We’ve all heard the expression: Confession is good for the soul. Today, we’ll examine a psalm that demonstrates the truth of this saying. Moreover, it invites us to confess for the sake of our own souls.
Have you ever felt far away from God? Perhaps your life was going along wonderfully, right according to plan. Then, without warning, everything started to fall apart. You lost your job. Or you were diagnosed with cancer. Or your spouse asked for a divorce. Or . . . you name it. In desperation, you cried out to God, but it felt as if God didn’t hear you or didn’t care if he did hear.
Everyone I know has felt desperate at some point in his or her leadership. Mine came when I started a company after spending years as part of a Fortune 500 company. Gone were the deep pockets of a large organization. Gone was the guaranteed salary to take care of my young family. We had built an innovative product prototype, but hadn’t yet produced a single working production model. Like many other entrepreneurs, I was betting the farm. Like many young entrepreneurs, there was little to fall back on if things failed, other than starting over. And, somehow, leaving the comforts of a large organization made things seem worse.
I did not grow up in a church that passed the peace in worship. We greeted each other more casually, if at all. So, when I began worshiping in a congregation that passed the peace each week, at first I felt a bit awkward. But, as I began to pay more attention to what I was saying and doing, I began to value the passing of the peace as a time to bless my fellow worshipers with one of the greatest of all gifts: God’s peace.
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